Carr was born in Daytona Beach Florida and and grew up in Port Orange Florida. He started to play the guitar at the age of 13. When he was younger he listened to records from RCA, Atlantic and Sun records in his home bought by his Mother and older sisters. Of course Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers were a big hit in his home. Later the Beatles and the Rolling Stones would be leading the "British Invasion". Pete bought their records and others such as the Yardbirds, The Animals and The Searchers which helped him learn the guitar as he studied and played along with the records. The first few albums released by the Beatles and the Stones contained many American Rhythm & Blues songs. The Rolling Stones at that time were deeply influenced by American R&B artists. Two of Pete's favorite "Stones" songs at the time were "It's All Over Now" by Bobby Womack and "Mercy, Mercy" by Don Covay, both American R&B recording artist. Pete never dreamed that he would one day play guitar on recordings for artist like Womack and Covay. It is ironic Carr was introduced to American Blues by British bands. Carr also learned from listening to guitarist such as James Burton, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Ted Connors and Chet Atkins.
Pete's next learning experience was to go and watch bands play. The first band he went to see were playing at the Daytona Beach City Island Recreation Center. They were called the Escorts, an early version of the Allman Joys. Pete was very young but remembers the two guitar players had blonde hair. Pete didn't talk with the two guitar players at the time. It would be at a later date when he would meet the two guitar players, Gregg and Duane Allman. Later, another popular Daytona Beach band called the Night Crawlers, would play at the same place. Pete would watch The Night Crawlers play songs from the first few Rolling Stones records which Pete had been learning from. Pete learned more as he watched the bands two guitar players, Sylvan Wells and Pete Thomason. Pete now plays an acoustic guitar made by Wells.
At the age of 15, Carr went to see the Allman Joys play at the Club Martinique in Daytona Beach. Carr, with guitar case in hand, introduced himself when the band took a break and asked Gregg Allman to show him some guitar lines. Gregg replied, "That's my brother, Duane's, department." At that point Pete introduced himself to Duane Allman. That meeting began a friendship which lasted until Allman's tragic death in a motorcycle crash Oct. 29, 1971.
Pete moved to Decatur Alabama in 1966 to play guitar for a band called the Five Minutes. Their guitar player, Eddie Hinton, was leaving the band to pursue studio work and Carr was called to be his replacement. Johnny Sandlin, Mabron McKinney and Paul Hornsby were the other members of the band. Pete was a fast learner with the guitar so he fit right into the new band. Pete remembers Sandlin playing him songs such as "It's All Over Now" by Bobby Womack and the Valentinoes. Carr already knew the Rolling Stones version of this song, which he loved, but he also liked Womack's version. Sandlin had heard Womack's version first and did not like the Stones version. They were both great recordings in different ways. Sandlin also got Pete to sit down with the classic B.B. King album "Live at the Regal." The band could not find a lead singer so they eventually disbanded after a few weeks. Carr credits Johnny Sandlin and Paul Hornsby as both being big brother influences and teachers in his music career.
In 1967 Pete, Gregg, Duane, Paul Hornsby and Johnny Sandlin, in a group named The Hour Glass, played together on the "The Power Of Love" album. The Hour Glass had recorded songs in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, at Rick Hall's FAME Studios which was known for innovative productions and great sound. One song recording at FAME, "The B.B. King Medley", was later released in a Duane Allman Anthology set. This recording is now considered a classic piece of raw electric southern rock blues. Pete recalls some warm memories from that time. I remember Gregg, Duane and I playing and singing "Long Black Veil", a great country music standard. It started "Ten years ago, on a cold dark night, there was someone killed, in the town that night". I remember us harmonizing on that song and it really was a moment separated from everything else we were doing. It was like a close family thing. I remember my mother talking about how my Aunt Gertrude would play and sing songs like that. She played guitar also, but she died before I was old enough to really remember her very much. My mom said she would sometimes play the guitar using a kitchen butter knife, so she must have played slide guitar also. She had epilepsy and I think I recall Mom saying that had something to do with her death.
Carr soon found he liked playing in recording studios along with engineering and producing. Pete eventually moved to Muscle Shoals around the age of 20. Johnny Wyker and Court Pickett would soon start work on their "Motorcycle Mama" album. Carr was called on to contribute as musician, engineer and producer of the project. The album was a commercial success for the new Muscle Shoals producer. Also the producer Jerry Williams hired Pete for many of his productions at Quinn Ivey's studio which helped Carr sustain himself at the time. Pete says "Jerry Williams is one of the best, innovative R&B producers I have worked with and funnier than Richard Prior. Jerry's sessions were always fun. His great sense of humor would have all of the musicians rolling in the floor with laughter". Pete had worked with Jerry many times before in Miami and Macon GA. One of William's productions recorded in Macon at Phil Walden's Capricorn studios named "Total Destruction To Your Mind" garnered a rave review in Rolling Stone magazine. Carr says some of his best guitar work was done on William's produced projects.
Soon Pete moved into the lead guitarist seat for the Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section. The 70s were among the most productive of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section as the cream of rock, pop and soul found their way to 3614 Jackson Highway in Sheffield, AL. Carr played on almost all sessions recorded at the studio for the next 10 years. A good example of Pete's musical ability and taste is the standout guitar lines he played on the Bob Seger hit "Main Street". The Rhythm Section co-produced Paul Simon's "There Goes Rhymin' Simon" which earned them a Grammy nomination. Jimmy Johnson, the rhythm guitar player for the Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section was quoted as saying "..Duane Allman had a magic touch with the guitar that no one else had, with the exception of Pete Carr.." Rodney Hall from FAME recording studios in Muscle Shoals says "I've got to say here that I think Pete Carr contributed more to Muscle Shoals Music than any other guitar player to come through Muscle Shoals. Yeah, there was Jimmy Johnson and Duane Allman. Duane wasn't here but about a year, and Jimmy is a great rhythm player but as far as lead goes, Pete's the man."
Carr continued as the premier session guitarist in the Muscle Shoals area playing on projects for artists recording at the main studios and also produced two guitar albums on himself released on the Atlantic/Big Tree label called "Not A Word On It" and "Multiple Flash" both of which sold well to critical acclaim. These two albums gained respect and fans for Pete around the world. This strengthened Carr's reputation as one of the South's best studio session guitarists, as well as an artist in his own right. Jerry Wexler, a world renowned record executive and producer of Atlantic Records, helped Carr find a record label for his productions. Among many other productions, Pete put together the group LeBlanc & Carr and created the album "Midnight Light" as both artist and producer. The song "Falling" became a big hit for LeBlanc & Carr. To this day, their smash hit "Falling" remains in the record books as one of the most popular singles ever, lasting 27 weeks during 1978 and 1979. In fact, "Falling," a dreamy, romantic ballad produced and arranged by Carr and written by LeBlanc and Struzick, attained the rare feat of being named a BMI Millionaire Song, indicating one million radio plays, and was named to Billboard's all-time favorite Top 40 Hits. The group's first tour was with Lynyrd Skynyrd on the "Street Survivors Tour" and ended tragically with an airplane crash in Mississippi, Oct. 20,1977. After this tragedy, and other band problems, Pete decided to return to the studio.
Pete Carr had now distinguished himself as the only studio musician in the Muscle Shoals area to succeed as studio musician, artist, composer, engineer and producer. Tom Dowd called Carr to Los Angeles to play on a Rod Stewart album which produced the big hit "Tonight's The Night". Pete's guitar playing was a prominent part of the hit. He layered rhythm and lead guitars throughout the song. In 1982 Carr was chosen to play for the Simon and Garfunkel Reunion World Tour and the legendary HBO Central Park Concert where he played acoustic and electric guitars.
Rolling Stone magazine gave Pete a good review for his bluesy and tasty electric guitar solo on the Barbra Streisand song "Make It Like A Memory" from her "Guilty" album. The song "Woman In Love" from the same album was a big hit for Streisand. Pete's opening harmony guitar lines were notably unique and hard to categorize but very effective in introducing this Streisand hit.
Carr got his first personal computer in 1978 and became enthralled with it and it's possibilities. Carr experimented with computer multimedia around this time. He had computer data recorded on a music album that when loaded into a computer would display extra information about the album. Denny Purcell, a top mastering engineer in Nashville, ran the test for Carr and it all worked fine. Denny was very impressed with Carr's innovative idea and setup Billboard Magazine to do an interview but Pete was busy at the time. Carr and Purcell believe that this was the first time digital computer information was included along with a music album. Of course the record company did not want to release an album with computer data and for good reason. There were very few personal computers around at the time, thus no market for such a product. Pete studied computer science in Florida during the 80s and where he learned Operating System theory and languages such as C++, Assembler, COBOL and BASIC etc..
Countless people around the world hear and enjoy Pete Carr's contribution to American music everyday. When songs such as Bob Seger's "Down on Main Street" come on the radio most people instantly recognize the song by Carr's standout intro guitar part. During the Falklands War of 1982, as British battle ships set sail to reclaim the Islands the BBC (The British Broadcasting Corporation) played the Rod Stewart song "Sailing" nation wide. "Sailing" featured Pete Carr's acoustic and electric guitar playing.
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